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7 Ways Sony Sunk ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot

It’s not a “Heaven’s Gate” level debacle. Nor is it a bomb or any such inflammatory charge. The Ghostbusters reboot crossed the $100 million mark recently. That’s great for most films, but summer blockbusters are assumed to smash that threshold.

The Ghostbusters reboot came in at number 7 during its third weekend of release. The film’s theater count is shrinking, and “Suicide Squad” is expected to annihilate the competition when it opens Aug. 5.

Suicide Squad - Official Trailer 1 [HD]

“Ghostbusters” cost $144 million to make. Tack on well north of $100 million in marketing and related costs, and the film must make a killing at the global box office to break even.

Director Paul Feig himself said the movie needs to haul in $500 million to justify its existence. And, presumably, greenlight a sequel.

If we do see a “Ghostbusters 2,” it won’t be for financial reasons.

RELATED: Is Gender Card ‘Ghostbusters’ Only Hope?

What happened? The project became the latest front in the culture wars, for starters. Suddenly, a movie featuring four female leads became a litmus test for Hollywood sexism.

ghostbusters-reboot

The movie itself isn’t a winner, but it’s filled with colorful banter and a breakout turn by Kate McKinnon. That wasn’t enough, apparently. It’s not the only reason the movie under-performed.

Here are the seven ways the film’s studio, Sony, blew what could have been Hollywood’s newest film franchise.

  1. Poorly Thought Out Gloating: Sony Pictures head Tom Rothman initially cursed out those critical of the reboot — “F*** ’em.” Later, Rothman cheered the gender controversy his team helped stir up on behalf of the film. “It’s the greatest thing that ever happened. Are you kidding me? We’re in the national debate, thank you. Can we please get some more haters to say stupid things?” Wonder what he’s saying today?
  2. They’re With Her (Part 1): It’s natural for the stars of a given film to work the talk show circuit. That certainly includes “Ellen,” the daytime chatfest featuring the charming Ellen DeGeneres. Only when the “Ghostbusters” cast appeared on the show they were joined by Hillary Clinton. That wasn’t an accident. For those not paying attention, she’s the deeply unpopular, polarizing candidate for the White House. That divisive decision certainly cost the movie a few ticket sales. Maybe much more.
  3. Make Love, Not War: It’s absurd that some movie fans slammed the female-led reboot without seeing it. A chunk of that reaction could clearly be blamed on sexism, but passion for the source material also figured into the equation. That’s how Geek Nation rolls. Online types type out nasty comments in a huff about projects they care deeply about. Just ask Ben Affleck after he was cast as the Dark Knight. So when some geeks savaged the “Ghostbusters” reboot sight unseen it wasn’t something new. The movie team’s reaction was, though. They fought back. Hard. In the process, they slammed a whole swath of potential movie goers, painting all skeptics with a sexist brush.
  4. That Trailer: It was awful. Period. Trailers matter in today’s film universe. Look at the pre-release excitement over “Suicide Squad.” Think that’s all about the alluring Margot Robbie? It is … to a point. Those sneak peeks ruled, whetting our excitement for the feature itself. The limp jokes stuffed into the first “Ghostbusters” trailer snuffed out excitement over seeing Slimer and co. again.
  5. (Awkward) Gender Card Embrace: Team Ghostbusters tried to play it both ways. We were told the female casting was simply finding the funniest people for the roles. And that just so happened to lead them to the four women who appear in the film. The marketing push also played up the feminist angle. Compare that to “Suicide Squad,” which prominently features Robbie in a critical role in a genre dominated by men. That film’s studio didn’t draw attention to that fact. It let Robbie’s performance speak for itself.
  6. They’re With Her (Part 2): Last week, the team behind the Ghostbusters Twitter account sent out an obviously pro-Clinton message. Then Sony claimed it wasn’t what we thought and yanked it down. And then Feig complained about it being removed and said He’s With Her, too. Summer blockbusters shouldn’t get political lest they antagonize key demographics. Republicans buy movie tickets, too.
  7. Big Budget Blues: One reason for that $144 price tag? Those expensive FX. Sure, they look neat, but does a sci-fi comedy need state of the art visuals? Many indie films whip up amazing visuals on a tight budget. Had “Ghostbusters” did the same, all the talk might be about a sequel to a modestly successful film. Instead, we’re discussing how the reboot isn’t making enough cash to satisfy the bean counters.
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7 Comments

  1. Here’s what I don’t get. We’ve had plenty of successful film series with female leads: the Alien movies, the Resident Evil films, the Underworld films, Tarantino’s Kill Bill/Grindhouse movies, and so on. And with all of them, gender wasn’t even brought up. I don’t recall a single person saying they didn’t want to see Underworld or Kill Bill because it had a strong female lead role, ever. Yet when this Ghostbusters reboot came out, the filmmakers and press acted like we were living in some alternate universe where no action movie with a female lead had ever existed, and it was necessary for everyone to love this movie as some kind of litmus test to prove something.
    What barrier was being broken down here? None. The filmmakers just hid behind the gender card to deflect criticism because their movie sucked, and in doing so they accused millions of innocent moviegoers of bigotry. They couldn’t have driven me away from their movie any more if they had forced me to avoid the theater at gunpoint.

    1. To be honest I dont think they care. They realized this movie was going to bomb so they decided to make up this women “controversy” to get everyone to talk about it and eventually see the movie. It backfired.

  2. Heaven’s gate is a veritable masterpiece or Cimino’s vision and you dare to put it in the same website as Ghostbusters2016?

  3. The main reason this movie failed is that they rebooted Coneheads instead of GB. The SNL casting was a huge error.

  4. Who would’ve guessed that constantly insulting and alienating potential audiences isn’t a sound marketing strategy?

  5. The story was bad because the writing was bad.

    The writing was bad because they weren’t trying to tell a story. They used this movie as a vehicle.

    They took sacred F***ING source material and didn’t do the acceptable method of, “Hey, look, it’s the daughter’s of the guys who originally started the business!”

    No-no, they said to themselves, “Those guys didn’t get it right the first time. We know how to do this movie better than the geniuses that conceived and birthed the original.”

    So they did a contrived remake. Take every gender from the original and invert it. Make the bad guy the big evil corporations – never mind in the original it was academia that shunned them and the GOVERNMENT that screwed everything up by breaking the containment.

    Oh, and make the goal of the women to be put on the government dole and given grants, not to be successful in their own enterprise.

    All of that added up to this piece of crap. The performers should feel okay about how they did. It wasn’t really their fault. And they got paid. Their egos thought they’d do this movie and be placed on the same pedestal as Murray, Akroyd, et al. That’s why they’re upset.

    Piece. Of. Crap. Movie.

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